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Boudiche, Edinburgh

Drapers’ Lingerie Retailer of the Year 2007 is still turning heads north of the border.

Edinburgh lingerie salon Boudiche combines a luxury shopping experience with quality designer brands and expert fitting advice. At just 450sq ft this store may be small, but it is also beautiful. With almost no shop window to attract passing trade and a small flight of stone steps to climb before you reach this retailer’s front door, Boudiche has had to work at making itself a destination store.

The soft lighting and central contemporary chandelier are the first things that greet customers as they enter, and an intimate swag-curtained purple and lilac fitting area with velvet sofa beckons enticingly at the rear of the shopfloor. The interior gives off a sumptuous and slightly decadent vibe and houses a brand portfolio ranging from Rigby & Peller to the likes of Damaris and La Perla, with many of this boutique’s 35 brands exclusive to the area.

Bread and butter business comes from the likes of Elle Macpherson Intimates and Fayreform, both from the fashion-focused Bendon lingerie group – other strong sellers include Prima Donna, Mary Jo and Mimi Holliday. However, this is a boutique that prides itself on offering brands that no other store carries, and it actively seeks out labels such as Elegantly Scant from Australia to differentiate the offer. This autumn it will drive its collection further upmarket with lingerie lines from Stella McCartney, Christian Lacroix and John Galliano.

Founded by former accountants Clare Thommen and Fiona McLean in July 2005, Boudiche aims to be the first stop for customers looking for indulgent rather than provocative lingerie in a luxury environment. Positioned at a similar price point to Myla and Agent Provocateur, the business aims to offer the fit and service of Rigby & Peller, but in a more contemporary environment, with an emphasis on feminine, chic design and fit.

Thommen says: “We were looking to fill the gap between the premium end of an upmarket department store offer and something like an Agent Provocateur store. We love what AP does, but it’s a separate niche to us. I suppose what we’d say is that we wouldn’t stock the more novelty end of AP’s offer, such as the crotchless knickers. Our products are less bedroom centric.”

Merchandise is displayed on the two side walls and in antique cabinets, and each of the two fitting rooms has a bell attached to its rope swags so that an assistant can be called with ease.

Thommen and McLean’s business plan from day one was to build the business to five stores plus a transactional website. In June last year it sold a 30% stake in the business to an unnamed Scottish multiple retailer to help the duo finance a store update and expand to a second shop.

The website is now up and running at www.boudiche.com. A second store has been longer in coming, but the pair have a site in mind in Glasgow and are in negotiations to finalise an opening for the summer.

15 Frederick Street, Edinburgh EH2 2EY

Essentials:
2005:
The year Boudiche was founded
35: Number of lingerie brands stocked
450sq ft: Size of the retailer’s Frederick Street store

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